Museum of City of New York

This Website Promotes Social Activism, New York Style

This Website Promotes Social Activism, New York Style

Linking social activism from the 1650’s to the 21st Century

Where do teachers, historians, and activists go when they want to find one location on the web with comprehensive information on the history of social activism in New York? To the Activist New York website, of course!

MediaCombo, working with curator Sarah Seidman and her team at the Museum of the City of New York, designed and developed this virtual version of the Activist New York exhibition at MCNY.


Bursting with stories from the 1600s to the present, it’s easy to trace the through line of issues like gender equality and civil rights, religious freedom and caring for the environment.

18 case studies focus on key moments in the history of social activism in New York and represent issues of economic rights, environmental advocacy, gender equality, immigration, religious freedom, and political and civil rights. Each story is told through the activists who made things happen and is revealed through objects displayed in the online galleries.


Educators have their own section with extensive lesson plans for each case study.

In between case study updates, the site is refreshed by a constant flow of tweets using the hashtag #activistny. Thus the story of social activism in New York is constantly being updated, and connected to our centuries-long history of New Yorkers standing up for what they believe is right.


The Puffin Gallery of Social Activism at MCNY has additional content and is well worth visiting.



Fun Fact 1

New Yorkers have been advocating for religious freedom since 1657, when it was still known as New Netherlands. They protected the Quakers against the disapproval of Governor Peter Stuyvesant.

Fun Fact 2

In 1865, more than half the city’s population lived in substandard tenements.

Fun Fact 3

In 1855, over 50% of New York City residents were immigrants. Today the number of immigrants in NYC is about 37%.

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